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Finding a hidden Africa in 1780s Maryland orangery


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Author Topic: Finding a hidden Africa in 1780s Maryland orangery  (Read 92 times)
Witch-King
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« on: February 19, 2011, 02:49:23 am »



This prehistoric pestle was found cemented among the bricks at the back of the furnace. Leone identifies it as an African charm put there by the slave who built the furnace. Credit: UMD

“For years, this famous Enlightenment structure has been recognized for its European qualities, but it has a hidden African face that we’ve unearthed,” says University of Maryland archaeologist Mark Leone, who led the excavation. “Concealed among the bricks of the furnace that controlled the greenhouse temperature, we found embedded a symbol used in West African spirit practice. An African American slave built the furnace, and left an historic signature.”

His team also found African charms buried at the entrance to a part of the Wye greenhouse that once served as living quarters for the slaves who maintained the building.

“Ironically, these African symbols distinguish this building from its more elaborate European counterparts, and give it a unique American character,” Leone adds, who has uncovered other evidence of African spirit practice through his Archaeology in the Annapolis project.
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